Lesson #6
The Defense Against Apostasy, verses 17 - 25

In verses 17 - 25 we will see the defense against apostasy. Verse 17 begins with Jude reminding his readers of "the words which were spoken to them by the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ." This same concept is also brought out in Colossians 1:9-10. "Because of this we also, since the day we heard the report have not stop asking in prayer on your behalf and we keep on asking so that you might be filled with the full knowledge of His sovereign purpose and design by means of all wisdom and understanding. In order that you might live your life in a worthy manner for the Lord with the view toward pleasing God in all things, being fruitful in all good works, and growing by means of the knowledge from God." (EXPANDED TRANSLATION).

VS 17 - But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

But, beloved - The first word here "but" is a conjunction of contrast. In contrast to apostasy, in contrast to cosmic evil thinking and cosmic doctrine there is an answer, there is a provision that is provided by God.

Not brought out in the King James Bible is a Greek word HUMEIS, which is a pronoun and should be translated "as for you."

The word "beloved" refers to the "beloved" saints of God.

"Beloved" is a word that is first of all used for the Lord Jesus Christ as God the Father loves Him with a perfect love. Therefore Jesus Christ is called "beloved." Matthew 3:17, ".....this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." When we believe in Jesus Christ we enter into union with Him. Ephesians 1:6 says, "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED." I John 3:2 says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God......" The term "beloved" was originally applied to Jesus Christ, and now it is applied to all believers in Jesus Christ because we are all in Him, and we share everything that He possesses, even the love of God the Father.

Literally, "But, as for you beloved."

Remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles - The preposition "of" is from the Greek word HUPO meaning, "under the authority of." With the use of this preposition the writer is emphasizing the principle of authority in the communication of the Word of God. All Bible doctrine is taught and learned under authority. The Greek word for "apostle" is APOSTOLOS, (19) meaning, "one sent, a messenger, an agent, an apostle." This is a techinical word in the New Testament and does not refer to just anyone who is sent. This word was used with reference for the 12 apostles whom God used to lay the foundation for the Church Age. There are no apostles today. In fact, there have been no apostles since the Apostle John around 100 AD.

Of our Lord Jesus Christ - The message of the apostles was always centered around one focal point no matter what doctrine was in view. The focal point of all Bible doctrine is centered around "our Lord Jesus Christ," the God-Man.

EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 17: "But as for you beloved, remember the doctrines that were taught to you under the authority of the apostles concerning our Lord Jesus Christ."

VS 18 - How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

How that they told you - Jude is saying that the apostles told them, or communicated to them, or declared to them.

There should be mockers in the last time - the word "mockers" refers to "scoffers." Those who "ridicule or make fun of." The phrase "the last time" is taken from two Greek words ESCHATOS CHRONOS. ESCHATOS means, "last, latest, lowest." CHRONOS means, "time, an era, a marked out duration." In our context this refers to any point of apostasy at any given period of time. This deals with any period of time when a maximum number of believers and/or unbelievers are negative to divine truth. This does not necessarily refer to the end of the age or the end of the world. This simply refers to a "low time" as far as positive volition is concerned. In other words, this is an application of "historical trends" which are predominate throughout the Church Age.

Literally, "How that they declared to you that there would be mockers at the lowest periods of time."

Who should walk after their own ungodly lusts - The phrase "who should walk" (20) refers to a manner of life. Whenever you read this phrase in the Bible it always refers to a certain lifestyle. In our context this refers to the lifestyle of apostates. Their lifestyle revolves around "ungodly lusts." The preposition "after" is the Greek word KATA, meaning, "a norm or standard." This tells us that "these apostates are living their lives according to the standard of their own" "ungodly lusts." The word "ungodly" is a translation from the Greek word ASEBEIA, meaning, "ungodliness, unspiritual, wickedness." This refers to anything that is done apart from the filling or controlling ministry of the Holy Spirit. The word "lusts" is a translation from the Greek word EPITHUMIA, meaning, "earnest desire. a strong desire." In our context this refers to "desires that have their source from the sinful nature." That is why they are called "ungodly or wicked desires."

EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 18: "How that they declare to you that there would be mockers and scoffers at the lowests periods of time (human history) who are constantly living their lives according to the standard of their own ungodly (wicked) lust patterns."

VS 19 - These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

These be they - The word "they" is a definite article used as a pronoun and could be translated "the ones.," referring to apostates. Literally, "These are the ones."

Who separate themselves - This compound verb in the Greek means "to cause divisions."

Literally, "These are the ones who cause divisions."

Sensual - The Greek word is PSUCHIKOS, meaning "soulish or natural." This refers to an individual who is only interested in the things of this life and not interested in the things of God or His Spirit. Paul uses this word in I Corinthians 2:14 to describe "the natural man who does not understand the things of God."

Having not the Spirit - (21) This means that these individuals do not have human spirits and, therefore, do not have the Holy Spirit.

EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 19: "These are the ones who are causing divisions, they are natural men, not possessing a human spirit."

VS 20 - But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.

But ye beloved - This is the same Greek construction that is found in verse 17. The Greek word AGAPETOS means, "beloved or dearly beloved." This refers to believers in Jesus Christ only. (see Ephesians 1:6 & I John 2:2). Here we see again the writer referring directly to those who are born again, to those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

Building up yourselves - The "building up" spoken of here refers to "spiritual edification and/or spiritual growth." Throughout the Scripture the body of Christ is spoken of as a building under construction. The word "to build" taken from the Greek word EPOIKODOMEO means, "to build up, to build upon, " and refers to a spiritual structure. Ephesians 2:19-22 tells us, "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." The verb for "building up" is in the active voice telling us that we as believers must produce the action of building up ourselves. And we can only do this by actively placing ourselves under the consistent ministry of a Bible teaching pastor-teacher.

Literally, "But you beloved, keep building up by yourselves."

On your most holy faith - The Greek word for holy is "HAGIOS" meaning, "to be separated unto God for His use." The verb form of this word means, "sanctified" and the noun form means, "saint." Here we have the adjective meaning, "holy."

The Greek word for "faith" is PISTIS, and it not only means, "faith," but it also means "that which is believed in," i.e. Bible doctrine or the Word of God. In other words, this phrase is telling us that the basis for all spiritual advancement and growth is the continual learning and application of Bible doctrine.

Literally, "But you beloved, keep building yourselves up by means of the holy doctrine."

Praying in the Holy Ghost - (22) This phrase describes the result of spiritual growth to spiritual maturity. One result of growing up spiritually is the beneficial use and positive results in prayer. It should be noted here that in the King James Version, the word "Holy Ghost" is incorrectly translated. Most recent translations have corrected this problem, but it should be brought out here. The word "Ghost" is the translation of the Greek word PNEUMA meaning, "spirit." Therefore, it should be correctly translated "the Holy Spirit."

EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 20: "But you beloved, keep on building yourselves up by means of holy doctrine, being continually in an attitude of prayer by means of the Holy Spirit."

VS 21 Keep yourselves in the love in God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Verse 21 gives us the "grace orientation" defense against apostasy.

Keep yourselves in the love of God - Keeping yourself in the love of God requires consistent self-discipline on your part. You can never get out from under the love of God as far as God is concerned, but you can get out from the blessings that the love of God bestows upon you as you live your life in time on this earth. The only way any believer in Jesus Christ can "keep" himself in the love of God with regards to his active involvement is through the consistent learning and application of Bible doctrine in the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ - All you have to remember is that "mercy" refers to "grace in action." Therefore, you are to be looking for God's grace action toward you as you live your life in the Word of God and in the filling of the Holy Spirit. This refers to "grace orientation." The only way any believer can be truly oriented to grace is to possess a maximum knowledge of Bible doctrine in his soul. And that can only occur after years of consistent learning of doctrine in the filling of the Holy Spirit under the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher.

Unto eternal life - It is very important to note that Jude is speaking to believers here. Therefore, he is not referring to salvation when he uses the words "eternal life." Eternal life is given to every believer as of the moment of salvation. You don't have to wait until you die to receive eternal life. It is a part of the salvation package. John 3:16 says, "Whoever believes in the Son HAS (present tense) eternal life." So when Jude uses the words "eternal life" here in vs 21 he is referring to special blessings and rewards set aside for those believers who "kept themselves in the love of God," and who "are looking with expectation to see God's grace work in their lives." All of this refers to spiritual growth.

EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 21: "Guard that which belongs to you in the realm of the love of God, waiting with anticipation for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ resulting in eternal life (resulting in special eternal blessings)."

VS 22 - And of some have compassion, making a difference.

And of some have compassion - The phrase "And of some" refers to "some" apostates and literally says, "and upon some." The phrase "have compassion" is the present active imperative of the verb ELEGCHO, meaning, "to refute, to rebuke, to chastise, to discipline." Literally, "And upon some keep rebuking."

The phrase "making a difference" is taken from the present middle participle of the verb DIAKRINO, meaning, "to discriminate, to contend, to dispute." PRINCIPLE: the ability to refute apostasy depends upon your knowledge of the Word of God.

EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 22: "And upon some rebuke or reprove them when they continually contend or dispute with you."

VS 23 - And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

And others - This also refers to apostates. The difference between the apostates in vs 22 and vs 23 is that the apostates in vs 22 are negative to truth so you "rebuke" them. But, in vs 23, the apostates are positive or show some interest in the truth and these we are told to "save." The word "save" is the present active imperative of the Greek verb SOZO meaning "to deliver." This refers to "delivering them from their apostasy." The words "with fear" are not found here, they come out later in the verse.

Pulling them out of the fire - This phrase is a translation of the present active participle of the verb HARPAZO meaning, "to seize quickly, to take away by force, to snatch away quickly." This refers to "snatching them away" from the fire before they get burned.

Literally, "And others offer deliverance, snatching them out of the fire." The fire refers to divine judgment or discipline, depending if the individual is a believer in Jesus Christ or not.

Hating even the garment - The word "garment" comes from the Greek word CHITON, referring to an inner garment fitted close to the body having armholes and sometimes sleeves and reaching below the knees." The word "garment" is used to refer the "apostasy" the individual is involved in. Therefore, this says that we are to hate the apostasy the indiviudal is involved in, but we are not to hate the individual.

Spotted by the flesh - The "flesh" refers to the sinful nature.

EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 23: "And others, offer deliverance snatching them out of the fire using fear, constantly detesting their apostasy which is completely contaminated from the source of the sin nature."

VS 24 - Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.

Now unto him - Literally, "Now to the One." This refers to God the Father, the author of the divine plan.

That is able - This is translated from the present active participle of the Greek word DUNAMAI meaning, "to have the ability or to have the power."

Literally, "Now to the One who is always able (who always possesses the power)."

To keep you from falling - The word "keep" is a translation of the Greek word PHULASSO meaning, "to guard, to defend, to keep safe, to preserve, to keep in custody." In other words, once you place your faith in Jesus Christ you become a child of God and He makes sure you remain a child of God. There is absolutely nothing that can change that relationship. The word "falling" is a translation of the Greek word APTAISTOS meaning, "free from stumbling or free from falling." This refers to falling to the point of ceasing to be a child of God. God will never let you "fall" or "stumble" to the point of you losing your salvation. The Doctrine of Eternal Security is in view here. It is interesting that Jude begins his epistle by referring to eternal security, and now he ends his epistle by reminding believers of their eternal security.

Literally, "Now to the One who is always able to guard you from stumbling."

And to present you faultless - This means "blameless or unblemished."

Before the presence of his glory - The time when you are presented "faultless before the presence of his glory" is when you receive your resurrection body at the rapture of the Church, and you will stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive your rewards or lose your rewards, as per I Cor 3:11-15. No one will ever be blameless or spotless until that time.

With exceeding joy - You can experience joy in this life, and many believers do. But in the life hereafter, after you receive your perfect resurrection body, you will have a joy you never experienced before. That will be the perfect joy and happiness which you can never understand at this time. This is why Jude calls it "exceeding joy."

EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 24: "Now to the One who is always able to guard you from stumbling and to establish you blameless in the presence of His majesty in extreem joy."

VS 25 - To the only wise God and Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

To the only wise God and Savior - The word "wise" is not in the Greek text. Literally, "To our only God and Savior." This tells us that God is our Savior in that He designed the plan and gave the authority for it to be accomplished.

There is a Greek phrase that is not brought in the King James Version, but is brought in other more current English translations. "Through Jesus Christ." Literally, "To our only God and Savior through Jesus Christ."

Be glory, majesty, dominion and power - The word "glory" refers to God's perfect essence and character. "Majesty" refers to His perfect royalty as the sovereign of all creation. "Dominion" comes from the Greek word meaning "strength, power, might." This refers to the strength power and might to rule. This refers to His ruling power as He sets up all authority in heaven and on the earth. And the word "power" comes the Greek word meaning "authority." The Lord not only has the perfect essence and character to be in charge of things. He not only possesses the dominion and the power to be in charge of all things. He not only possesses the strength and jurisdiction to be in charge of all things. But He also possesses the authority to be in charge of all things.

Literally, "To our only God and Savour through Jesus Christ be glory and greatness, ruling power and ruling authority."

Both now and ever. Amen - The word "now" refers to time, and the word "ever" is from the Greek word AIONIOS meaning, "forever." The Greek literally says "unto all the ages." This refers to eternity future. Time without end. The word "amen" simply means "so be it, in truth, most certainly."

When Satan rebelled in eternity past, God had complete control over everything and remained in control. At the present time when it appears that evil is winning and the world is falling apart, God is still in control. And in the future when all the dust of time settles, we will still see God on His throne and still in control of all things.

EXPANDED TRANSLATION VERSE 25: "To our only God and Savior through Jesus Christ be glory and greatness, ruling power and ruling authority before all time, and now, and forever. Amen."

The Lord is in Control

The Lord controls history from the beginning to the end,
Though they cannot see Him He directs the ways of men.
When violence and misery appear to get worse,
The Lord remains in control, and His plan is still on course.
When we see injustice and people being abused,
We must remember, there is a reason, so don't get confused.
If we learn Bible doctrine every day of our life,
We'll begin to understand all the misery and the strife.
So we don't get upset or worry about things we see and hear,
Because the Lord is in control and to Him we are all very dear.
And no matter what men may do to cause destruction, pain and harm,
The Lord is still in control and men can only go so far.
And when all of life is over and the dust of judgment gone,
We'll see the Lord Himself still sitting on His throne.

Written by Robert H. Kreger. Copyright 1987.

The End

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